In a famous moment in the movie “The Graduate,” an annoying man named Mr. McGuire says to a young college graduate named Benjamin, “I just want to say one word to you . . . just one word . . . are you listening . . . plastics.”
McGuire was telling Benjamin to make his career in plastics. Plastics, the material of the future. But McGuire wasn’t entirely right. Although the use of plastics has boomed since that movie was released in 1967, plastics haven’t replaced metal, for several reasons. Metals conduct electricity, and plastics do not. Plastics can be corroded by harsh chemicals, and many metals cannot. Plastics are not hard enough to serve as parts in many machines where metals perform beautifully.
And advanced as plastics may be, they are not about to replace precious metals in the technologies that we’re going to take a look at in today’s post.
Silver Trend: The Boom in Solar Panels
Have you noticed that a boom is happening in the use of solar panels? It seems that wherever you travel, you see new installations on roofs and in open fields. While it is true that thin-film solar are becoming more and more popular than the older thick-film models that used more silver, the demand for silver will remain strong because of the sheer number of thin-film panels that are being installed. See our earlier post, Replacing Your Old Solar Panels? Don’t Throw Away Valuable Silver Too, to learn more.
Platinum Trend: High Demand in Medical Applications
Platinum is finding more and more uses in medicine. It’s being used throughout modern medical devices in hospitals, in implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), devices that monitor or regulate brain functions, neurovascular devices, stents, and pacemakers. Remember, platinum is rare in nature. According to some estimates only about 16 tons of it have been mined in all of history. That means that demand for the recyclable platinum scrap that you have is sure to remain high.
Palladium Trend: High Demand in Catalytic Converters
Palladium is also rare in nature, found almost entirely in Canada, Russia and South Africa. Yet it is widely used in catalytic converters. And as you know, the demand for automobile and industrial catalytic converters is not going to diminish anytime soon. That scarcity, coupled with high demand, means that collecting and recycling catalytic converters will remain a profitable activity – and a viable business – in the years and decades ahead.
How Solar Panel Manufacturers Let $MILLIONS Slip through Their Fingers
New Medical Technologies Spur a Boom in Platinum Use
Why It Pays to Recycle Electrophysiology (EP) Catheters
What Precious Metals are Inside Catalytic Converters and What Are They Worth?